Denzil R. Young, Jr. was born in a house on the eastern shore of Baker Lake in Baker, MT. With his beloved sister Ellen, he swam in the lake and climbed in the golden willows planted by their father along the shore. As a youngster Denzil built a boat and taught himself lake sailing. He learned horsemanship while working summers on the Patton Ranch with his cousin Glenn.
Denzil enlisted in the U.S. Army at 18, and served in the field artillery as World War II ended. After discharge he worked his way through law school at the University of Montana. Returning to Baker to join his father’s law practice, he married Marlene Corey in 1953.
After his father’s sudden death in 1955, Denzil continued the law partnership with Arthur B. Martin, who was appointed to the bench in 1965. Denzil then maintained a solo practice combining public service, private representation, and pro bono work until his retirement in 2011. He served 36 years as Fallon County Attorney. At his retirement from the post in 1994, he was Montana’s longest serving prosecutor. A longtime member of the National District Attorneys’ Association, Denzil represented Montana for many years on the NDAA Board, as well as serving on the Prosecutorial Management and Standards Committee.
Appointed by the Governor to Montana’s Board of Oil and Gas Conservation in 1994, Denzil held the post until 2006, serving several terms as vice-chair. He also served for many years on Montana’s Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection. His civic activities included membership in the Baker Lion’s Club and Sandstone Masonic Lodge; 28 years as a volunteer fireman; and 76 years with American Legion Post #35.
Denzil was a runner and a lifelong swimmer. He was a medallist on the U of M swim team and in military competition at West Point, where he was stationed during the war. Later he swept the senior swimming division of the Big Sky Games in 2002 and 2003, winning four gold medals each year. He and Marlene delighted in travel, bridge, birdwatching, and the fine and performing arts. They were faithful members of the O’Fallon Community Choir and the choir of St. John the Evangelist. Denzil also loved literature and poetry, archery, gardening, and chess.
Denzil died peacefully on Feb. 13, 2021. He was preceded in death by Marlene (Sept. 11, 2019). He is survived by daughters Mary Paula Young (Frank Camelio), Marcia Young, Diana Young Morrissey (Patrick), Lisa Young (John Stephens), and Rosalyn Hug (Karl) as well as six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Will be buried in the military cemetery at Fort Snelling, MN, date to be determined.